I was talking to my friend Pat a few days ago about tomatoes. “Everyone who’s been there,” she said, “talks about the tomatoes in Italy. They’re supposed to be so good.” Yup, they’re good all right. Here in the US we do pretty well a few months of the year. Over there, year around it seems, great tomatoes.
But for while now I’ve been enjoying good ones, peeled, seedless, and chopped. All year.
There’s a catch. You do the peeling, you do the unseeding, and you do the chopping yourself. Ten minutes, fifteen max, you have sweet red beauties for your bruschetta or for your thin-sliced mozzarella. This is a labor of love. A labor with luscious results. Here’s what I do:
I buy the Campari tomatoes at Costco. They’re available year around. They’re little guys. Think of golf balls that should be on a diet. Herewith what you can do:
Blanch them. Bring water to a fast boil, drop five tomatoes in the water for 15-30 seconds. Drain the boiling water, run cold water over them. Same pan. Let them cool in the sink for a minute.
Peel them. This is so FUN. The peels slide off. Or pinching an edge between thumb and forefinger you peel the peel away.
Cut them in half, exposing the seeds. I use a sharp serrated knife. Scoop the seeds out with your forefinger. Dunk the tomato in the cooling pan. Check them again. Try to get most of the seeds. It’s a purity thing.
Sometimes you get only half the seeds. Look for the white seam visible on the side of the peeled tomato. Make an incision along that line. Scoop, rinse, scoop.
Cut them. I do them lengthwise, slicing not really dicing.
You’ll get a pile of beautiful tomato. Still a little water in them. I pick up a fistful and squeeze the water out of them. Then they go in a dish, with a few tablespoons of oilve oil over them.
Lay them over thin sliced bread you’ve toasted. (See above.) Lay them over thin sliced mozzarella. (See below.) THEN salt them. Sea salt is nice. Maybe a tiny bit of fresh ground pepper. Don’t salt the tomato until you’re ready to eat them. Otherwise you get a watery, diluted, colorful but wet mess.
There’s sugar, there’s flavor, there’s happiness. Do it yourself. You’ll be glad you did.